Iggy and The Stooges CD review [Virgin]

Music Reviews
Iggy and The Stooges CD review [Virgin]
Mar 29, 2007, 01:57



Who shoots an e-mail in 2007 and asks, “So you getting a ticket to see the Stooges?” Apparently someone without a calendar, that's who. And someone who also has too much spending money and is inadvertently a PT Barnum subject.

While the band, such as it is, gets a pass from most critics simply on name alone, anyone who writes for real in what was then can surely see that The Weirdness is nothing close. The Dum-Dum Boys are dead. To bring them back in an age of strip malls and million-dollar profit margins is both inane and disingenuous.

The Weirdness is an exercise in which no one wins. The riffs are amateurish, Iggy's voice, long transformed from the frothing desperation of his urgent youth into a yelping, nasal, Midwestern-accented twee. And the production is clunky, defined by the Albini-trademark drum prod that works perfectly in many cases but not here.

That said, two songs, the title cut and “Mexican Guy,” could have come from the Stooge house in 1971. Back off the slap-happy production, feed the boys some good dope, tell Iggy to forget he ever met Bowie, and they'd be back home. But two songs don't make a full release and certainly are not redemption for the seditious act of trying to recreate something long dead and forever beautiful.

In their day, the Stooges were a dangerous, fucked-up band of Midwestern damage that will forever live in musical infamy for their pure genius that defined what rock and roll should be. Iggy's megalomaniacal banshee death-trip fronting, heat seeking guitar frothing and bam-bam-bam rhythm riding shotgun confounded the establishment that actually thought they were enlightened in their praises of the heavies of the time, like comparative simps, Cream. The first two Stooges albums defined the genre of fuck-you rock and sent pedantic rock scribes scurrying, and for good reason—both The Stooges and Funhouse were the real deal, and any presser hates that.  Listening, again, to the Funhouse box set is enlightening and torturous—and yup, the 7th version of “1970” is the best. This was a band far better than the Rolling Stones and the Who, with more attitude and more creativity in its quiver than either of those Brit band poseurs.

And when James Williamson entered the picture, things got even more real. The dude was a stone cold junkie and had demons in his hands. He wrote “Gimme Danger” and meant it. The violent, unhinged chording in “Search and Destroy” launched at least a handful of other songs that reached for greatness.

Which in part what is more troubling about this ridiculous reunion—it means that live, there are no songs from the classic Raw Power, for whatever reason—perhaps lingering ill feelings from Ron Asheton, the trailer park boy who was unceremoniously removed from guitar duties and relegated to bass upon Williamson's arrival.

Or is it that he just doesn't have the jam Williamson had? By now, several years after the first series of faux-Stooges reunion gigs, most of you have your own idea, I would hope.

And it's more important in musical terms that the Stooges are recognized for their place in the musical pyramid rather than for this tepid stab at the fountain of youth.

Which is where we leave this bad idea of the Stooges in this decade. What was will never be again and to hear Asheton riffing pedestrian punk licks like this is a sad torch to the legacy. The Three Stooges would be better advised to regroup, mortality notwithstanding.

For this review, I asked Williamson if he'd care to talk about the Stooges. He's an obviously smart man—that guitar work doesn't come from dumbbell-land—and he sent me a note about the Stooges, saying he is “happy that they have gotten together and can tour, earn some money and hopefully have some fun. I think all of them need each other at this point and it really works out for them.”

Talk about having a life and some perspective. [Virgin]


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